Sedum ternatum, is commonly called three-leaved stonecrop or wild stonecrop. It slowly creeps to form an attractive green patch. It's happiest in average, well drained soil, in bright to filtered light and is naturally found growing in damp locations along stream banks, bluff bases and stony ledges. You can try growing it in full sun if your soil is consistently moist. I planted it along the front path with visions of it cascading over the limestone wall, but, the clay soil is too dry during the summer and it's never spread like I hoped.
Sedums are often touted as drought tolerant, because their fleshy leaves can hold moisture, but, wild-stonecrop needs moisture. Don't plant it in dry sandy soil and expect it to thrive. It's a woodland plant.
|blooming in my middle Tennessee (zone 7a) garden right now|
I adore it and planted more, this time in moister soil.
|The flowers are small white stars with noticeably purplish stamens.|
Three leaved Stonecrop is a member of the Sedum/Crassulaceae family. Almost all family members have star shaped flowers and succulent leaves. They're enormously popular plants and propagate relatively easily. Propagation is simple: by division or cuttings. Sometimes little bits of the plants break off, fall to soil and root. Now that's easy.
|kind of beat up after 3 inches of heavy rain|
Plant it with Aquilegia canadensis, Phlox divaricata, Mertensia virginica, Iris cristata, Polystichum acrostichoides, Tiarella cordifolia or Heuchera Americana. My new planting is in a bed of moisture loving Phloxes and Sedges. The beds are mulched with leaf mold to keep the soil moist. It's going to look lovely at the base o Baptisia australis and cuddling up to the pink Phloxes.
My dears, it loves shade, doesn't take over, has attractive flowers, feeds the bees and looks good...This may be the groundcover you've been looking for!
Common Name: three-leaved stonecrop, wild-stonecrop,
Herbaceous perennial, in warmer gardens it might be evergreen.
Native Range: Eastern United States, has escaped in eastern Canada
Zone: 4 to 8
Size: less than a foot tall and might spread a foot
Bloom Time: April to May with a showy star flower
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium: which means it is not a drought plant, although, listed as drought tolerant, it does not thrive in a truly dry garden.
Propagation: Division or cuttings. Seeds take a very long time.
|The seed heads are pretty cool, too.|
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize, perfect in a rocky, moist spot. I have it planted with Phloxes that like it moist. Tuck it between rocks or under leggy perennials.
Wildlife value: The flower nectar and pollen of stonecrops (Sedum spp.) attract various kinds of bees, including Andrena forbesii. Less often, wasps and flies visit flowers of these plants. Insects that feed on the foliage of Wild Stonecrop (Sedum ternatum) include the Sedum Aphid (Aphis sedi) and the aphid Aphis acrita. The Eastern Chipmunk eats the roots of this plant. (Illinois Wildflower source)
Comments: Deer proof, but, chipmunks may eat roots. This sedum tolerates more shade than other sedums.
Where to find: Middle Tennesseans can buy them at GroWild a local native plant nursery this weekend (April 27-28) at their Native Plant Festival or, order them from Prairie Nursery.
Welcome to Wildflower Wednesday and thank you for stopping by to see our April star. Sedums are popular plants known for their easy care, it's a too bad that growers over look our natives in favor of exotics. Sure they're lovely, but so are our local wildflowers, especially Sedum ternatum with it's star flower! Thanks for joining in and if you are new to Wildflower Wednesday, it's about sharing and celebrating wildflowers from all over this great big, beautiful world. Join us on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Remember, it doesn't matter if your wildflower is in bloom or not and, it doesn't matter if we all share the same plants. Please leave a comment when you add your url to Mr Linky.
Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.